The Iron Writer Challenge #3
2013 Iron Writer Summer Solstice Challenge #3
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
A failed superhero
A boat propeller
A Chechem/Chaka tree
Ferrum-man, a Superhero
Superhero Brian Rogers, more reputably known as Ferrum-man, sat with his head in his hands. What on Earth was he going to do now?
Ferrum-man tried to help Batman in Gotham City, and now it was in disarray. Apparently, soon afterwards, Bruce Wayne took a holiday. Ferrum-man’s more recent exploits in Metropolis fared no better. During a clash with the Joker, he had accidently destroyed a piano, in fact Clark Kent’s grand piano. As for Superman, he left without saying a word. Things simply went from bad to worse.
After some deliberation, Ferrum-man assessed he was a hopeless superhero. It was time to make his escape. The embarrassing affairs in both cities had sealed a failed superhero’s fate. Dressed as author, Brian Rogers, theironwriter, he drove to the harbour and bought a small boat.
Once purchased, the boat sailed from Metropolis with Brian looking bleak. He was leaving his beloved America to build a new life in foreign parts. Perhaps starting a career in Mexico was some sort of a plan. In Mexico he could start again as a regular man.
When Mexico’s shores came into sight, the boat came to a sudden stop. Now our Brian had never been one for swimming, but this problem had to be resolved. It was time for Ferrum-man to tackle the dreadful task. Brian immediately did three quick jumps and appeared in his metal tone, skin tight, spandex tights.
After several deep breaths, our reluctant superhero dived into the sea. Once underwater, it was soon clear that a boat propeller was clogged with debris. Ferrum-man was quick to grasp the propeller and it immediately dropped off in his hands. To his horror, a great, gaping hole appeared in the hull. Our ‘superhero’ left the sinking boat and swiftly swam for shore.
On reaching dry land, the superhero took three jumps and was instantly dressed like a regular man. Disgruntled, Brian walked towards the distant green land. The sun beat down and the day was sizzling hot. It wasn’t long before Brian slumped down in the shade, under a tree, and decided it was time for a nap. It was mid-afternoon when he woke up and scratched. This ‘superhero’ discovered he had a dastardly rash.
Brian looked at the rash and moaned, “No more, I can’t take any more!”
Unexpectedly, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent appeared.
Bruce said to Brian, “Look at that goddam awful rash!”
“Don’t worry Brian, it must be some sap from this Chechem tree that’s irritated your skin,” said Clark, who quickly took nectar from a nearby Chaka tree and rubbed it onto the rash.
Three jumps and Ferrum-man appeared in his tights.
In a flash, he squashed the two trees together and cried, “Look it’s a Chechem Chaka Tree!”
Clark, looked from Brian to Bruce, then sighed, “Oh well, our holidays are over, let’s get back to solving crime.”
Brian smiled, “Does that mean I’m still a superhero?”
Bruce shrugged, “Humph. Yip we’ll watch your back.”
Like the Legend of the Chechen and Chaka Trees of Malaysia, Jekyll too held the power of life and death in his hands. As he gave life to the ivory keys of his piano, a memory began to haunt him, just as it had done in the long procession of days that followed his downfall from being the world’s greatest superhero.
It was at a banquet on a cruise ship that rivaled the Titanic, Jekyll and his fiancée danced to the ambient melody of Hiatus Kaiyote as the President of the United States offered his many thanks to Jekyll for saving his daughters. With the beautiful women standing in front of him, dazzling smiles splashed across their mocha expressions, Jekyll, his confidence just as tailored as his black suit, nodded back with his smile tight on his face, the beauty of another preoccupying his thoughts.
He went to find his fiancée on the upper deck of the large ship. His eyes scouring through the massive crowds, he ventured through the excitement, smiled politely at the congratulatory statements and the numerous pats on the back before he found her, an angel without wings standing by the rail, the sunset sky admiring her beauty in that twinkling black gown that accentuated her perfect curves and exotic tan. Simply by being, she intensified the beauty of the cascading sun. That is until, a large groan escaped the ship and the large ship jerked back as a sign of engine failure, sending her careening to the ocean below. He heard the screams and the pleas from the politicians and their whores begging for a savior. But a savior was not present. Only a man ran through the crowd, a man with tears in his eyes watching the love of his life descend rapidly to the ocean. That same man leapt off of the brass railing with two choices swirling in his mind. He had a decision to make.
As her swam through the darkness below, he saw the reason for the ship’s sudden failure. The main propeller had malfunctioned and Jekyll knew with one touch of his Hand of Chaka, he could bring the propeller to life again, but with the boat and his fiancée sinking at rapid rates, he knew he could only save one. He had a decision to make.
“Jackie?” The melody from the piano stopped as he turned his head toward the source of that soft voice. With waters glazing over his dark eyes, he stood up tall and regal, looking down into the face of the one he had given up everything for. “Someone here misses her daddy.” The baby cooing in her mother’s arms reached out toward Jekyll as tears of joy escaped from the lining of his eyes, again, reminded that he would let that cruise ship sink, let those passengers die, withstand the public fury for the death of the First Family for the family in front of him now. The one that was not supposed to exist.
He walked to and held out his hands to cradle their child before his lips found his wife and his arms found his daughter. As their lips locked in ecstasy and his daughter cooed in his arms, he no longer cared her was a failed superhero, because in the end he was a successful husband. Had he not been that, he would have never had the joy of being a successful father.
E. Chris Garrison
When Towering Rage walked into my bar, I knew there’d be trouble. I poured drinks at T.G.I. Heroes! for the regulars: Wire Hanger, Sticky Fingers and of course the Amazing Pieman. Fingers tickled the ivories, coaxing out “Stand By Me”. Only if you know Fingers, nobody’d do that on purpose.
Rage ducked under the motorboat hanging from the ceiling, swept back his cape, and plunked down his old-school red-tights-wearing butt on a barstool. One eye on the door.
“What’s your poison?” I purred, giving him a wink. He looked like he could use one.
He looked me up and down and sighed “Scotch. Rocks. Double.” I may not be Foxy Lightning, but I’m not chopped liver, either. Rage needed more than a wink, so I slid some scotch his way.
Just then, his blue ox of a brother Thunderbull burst in and shouted, “Thought I told you to get outta town, loser!”
My bouncer, Mistress Beast, tried to stop him. Brute that she is, he flicked her aside.
I was right. Trouble.
Rage stared into the glass I’d placed before him. His lips moved as he counted to ten.
“Get out of my bar!” I shouted, trying to avoid another insurance claim. “You know the rules. No fighting.”
Thunderbull grinned and pushed forward. He knocked the Pieman into Hanger, and both of them fell into a heap with Doctor Whiplash.
Towering Rage pushed his scotch away. Veins stuck out on his neck. His face matched his tights. His barstool hit the floor as he stood. “Leave me be. I gotta right to be here.”
Thunderbull lifted the piano and hurled it at Rage, knocking him back into my reinforced bar. Heroes and sidekicks scattered, fleeing the cacophony and debris. “I whupped you good, you failure. Get out!”
Towering Rage rose from the wreckage, piano wire twanging as he grew in size and fury. He knocked the motorboat from its hooks, snapped the propeller off the outboard motor and threw it spinning at his brother.
Mistress Beast stood up behind him.
The propeller cut her beautiful head from her apelike body. She fell to the floor, dead.
Thunderbull roared with laughter, stepped over the body, and left.
Towering Rage wilted, broken once again.
“Don’t let him win,” I said, coming around the bar, near him.
“Everything I do is like poison from the Chechen tree,” he said, eyes on Mistress Beast’s bloody head.
“Then let me be your Chaca balm,” I said, touching him on the forearm, which was about as high as I could reach.
At my touch, time rewound to when Thunderbull entered.
Before the ox could get out a single word, Rage ignored the boat, calmly crossed the room, and punched his brother out the door, into orbit.
Mistress Beast, alive again, looked at me, confused. I shrugged and smiled.
Towering Rage gaped at me. “How… who are you?”
“My name’s Tap Back. Want that scotch now?”
He grinned. “You bet. Thanks!”
I winked. “Any time.”